• YEAR: Senior
  • MAJOR: Industrial Engineering
  • HOMETOWN: Lima, Peru

Cesar Reynaga Galeas

Cesar Reynaga Galeas didn't have to look far to find his inspirational role model in this world. His father, Cesar Reynaga Luna, is a doctor and university professor in Lima who spends much of his time providing pro bono work to patients who could not otherwise afford the proper medical care.

The younger Cesar discovered Purdue through a Google search for rankings and a curiosity about Neil Armstrong's alma mater. He came here to learn from what he calls "the best of the best." And he's now adding his own energy to make the University a more inclusive place. Through leadership roles in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Cesar has both recruited and encouraged fellow Latinos to take active roles on campus and in the community.

Righting the SHPE

From his early days with SHPE, Cesar has committed himself to leadership positions and empowering the members of the organization. As president of SHPE, Cesar encourages members to get involved in legendary Purdue activities like Grand Prix and the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. He also has led an effort to engage with Lafayette-West Lafayette. The national organization provided funds for community service projects, and Cesar and friends have contributed their time and goodwill to helping local veterans and feeding the homeless. With that giving attitude, he is following his father's lead.

Engineering efficiency

Industrial engineering is all about efficiency of effort — doing things easier, but better. It's a field that suits the pragmatic Cesar just fine. "I'm studying industrial engineering because I like to create or improve processes and systems," he says. "I'm also very interested in the relationship between people and machines and how it's possible to achieve an integrated system with those factors."

Peruvian homecoming

Beyond developing an expertise in engineering, Cesar is embracing the global perspective that comes with an education from Purdue's College of Engineering. He says that by studying alongside students from all over, including China, India and across the United States, he's learning that the dynamics of diversity leads to great teams. He hopes to take that knowledge back home to Peru, a developing country, to help students prepare for and succeed in college. "College teaches you how to think," he says. "It doesn't matter if you know too much math. What you learn are different perspectives."

Soccer socials and equality goals

Not everything is so serious for Cesar. Like many fellow South Americans, he loves playing and watching soccer. The sport, in fact, has often provided the social gathering ground to help SHPE leaders recruit new engineering students.

If his soccer game is anything like his personality, his play could be characterized by persistency. When asked, this equality maker advises: "Be persistent to achieve your goals and always try to give back to the community. It's important to help people who do not have the same opportunities as you."